Richard Kaufman has devoted much of his musical life to conducting and supervising music for film and television productions, as well as performing film and classical music in concert halls and on recordings. The 2018-19 concert season marks Richard's twenty-seventh season as Principal Pops Conductor of Orange County's Pacific Symphony. He holds the permanent title of Pops Conductor Laureate with the Dallas Symphony, and is in his thirteenth season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert series, CSO at the Movies, conducting classic and contemporary film music, as well as classical music used in motion pictures. Mr. Kaufman regularly appears as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras throughout both the United States and around the world including Cleveland, St. Louis, San Diego, Indianapolis, Utah, Edmonton, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, Ireland. Mr. Kaufman has conducted throughout Australia, including sold-out performances at the Sydney Opera House. In May 2015 Mr. Kaufman made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops, substituting for John Williams at the Annual Pops Film Night. In 2016 Mr. Williams graciously invited him to share the podium at the annual Tanglewood Film Night, and in April 2018 he again joined Mr. Williams in concerts with the Chicago Symphony. During the summer of 2016, Mr. Kaufman conducted the live performance of Michael Giacchino’s score for Star Trek Beyond with the San Diego Symphony, accompanying the film in its gala world premiere. It was the first time a film was presented outdoors in IMAX. In September of 2018 Mr. Kaufman conducted special "Boston Pops-style" concerts with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig.
With a life-long passion for film music, Mr. Kaufman often conducts programs featuring live performances of entire scores while the film is shown. These include Amadeus, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T. , Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, Fantasia, On the Waterfront, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 & 2, Singin' in the Rain, Vertigo, Silverado, Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Beyond and various silent films. In April 2014 at the Virginia Arts Festival, Mr. Kaufman conducted the world premiere performance of Stewart Copeland's score for the 1925 silent classic Ben Hur. Following the premiere, he has joined composer/soloist Stewart Copeland in performances of this exciting work with orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Pacific Symphony and the Luxembourg Philharmonie.
Mr. Kaufman received the 1993 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance for a recording he conducted with the Nuremberg Symphony. His recordings include The High and the Mighty (Varese Sarabande) with the London Symphony Orchestra. In October of 2011 Mr. Kaufman conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in a concert presenting the film music of Oscar®-winning composer Dimitri Tiomkin.
As a violinist, Mr. Kaufman performed on numerous film and television scores including Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever and (in a moment of desperation) Animal House.
Mr. Kaufman joined the Music Department of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios in 1984 as Music Coordinator, and for the next 18 years supervised music for all MGM television and animation projects. He received two Emmy Award nominations, one for the animated series, The Pink Panther in the category of Outstanding Music Direction and Composition, and another for Outstanding Original Song co-authored for the series All Dogs Go to Heaven. He conducted scores for films including Guarding Tess and Jungle to Jungle.
Mr. Kaufman has served as Music Director and Conductor for numerous musicals. His first assignment (at age 23) was as conductor for the National Tour of Sweet Charity starring Juliet Prowse. He conducted the First National Tours of Company (for Hal Prince) and Two Gentlemen of Verona (for Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival). For the Los Angeles and San Francisco Civic Light Operas, he was Music Director and Conductor for musicals including Wonderful Town (starring Nanette Fabray), Irma La Douce, The Sound of Music (for which he was nominated by the San Francisco Theater Critics for Outstanding Music Direction) and Guys and Dolls (starring Milton Berle).
In April 2012 Mr. Kaufman received the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from his alma mater, California State University @ Northridge. While a student at CSUN, he composed the University's Alma Mater and Fight Song. He is on the Board of the Film Music Foundation, and is a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Young Musicians Foundation.
Born in Los Angeles, Richard Kaufman began violin studies at age seven, played in the Peter Meremblum California Junior Symphony, and was a member of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He attended the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood in the Fellowship program, and earned a B.A. in Music from California State University Northridge. Mr. Kaufman lives in Southern California with his wife, Gayle, a former dancer in film, television and on Broadway. His daughter, Whitney is a graduate (with honors) from Chapman University in Orange, California, and for 2 1/2 years was a member of the cast of the National Tour of Mama Mia! .
Mr. Kaufman is proud to be represented by Opus 3 Artists.